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Faulconer Signs Order To Boost Outdoor Dining

Outdoor dining in front of Rustic Root on Fifth Avenue on June 19, 2020, the first weekend Fifth Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter was closed for outdoor dining in a bid to help restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alexander Nguyen
Outdoor dining in front of Rustic Root on Fifth Avenue on June 19, 2020, the first weekend Fifth Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter was closed for outdoor dining in a bid to help restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UPDATE: 5:50 p.m., July 7, 2020

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Tuesday said he had signed an executive order that allows restaurants to quickly expand outdoor dining, as a spike in COVID-19 infections led the county to shut down indoor service for three weeks.

The order allows restaurants to expand outdoor dining on private parking lots and sidewalks without a permit. It does not allow outdoor dining on street parking spots, though that is expected to be part of a more comprehensive ordinance due for a City Council vote next week.

COVID-19 cases have surged across San Diego County since businesses began opening up in late May. The total number of cases in the county nearly doubled from about 7,500 at the end of May to 14,600 by the start of July. The county’s order to halt indoor dining took effect on Tuesday.

Faulconer announced his plan to expand outdoor dining last month, saying it would help restaurants continue operations while also complying with county and state public health orders. It had been due to go before the City Council on Tuesday, but the hearing was delayed as the ordinance undergoes legal review.

Facing criticism from local restaurants and business districts over the delay, Faulconer said his action Tuesday would help businesses stay afloat under increasingly challenging public health orders.

"This executive order that I signed seeks to give at least some San Diego workers who are living paycheck to paycheck the opportunity to keep earning that living," he said in a press conference Tuesday evening.

Restaurants must still leave at least four feet of sidewalk space, in compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Faulconer Signs Order To Boost Outdoor Dining
Listen to this story by Andrew Bowen.